Creating a Space for Empathy: Composer Joel Thompson Speaks About ‘The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed’

Thompson’s 2015 piece brings to light an issue that hits close to home in Chicago and countrywide: the killing of unarmed African American men. Thompson parallels Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ; using the liturgy as a guide, he weaves a piece that prompts conversation about race and social injustice.

Syrian Artists Express Urgency and Celebrate Survival through Music

Born in Damascus, Syria, clarinetist Kinan Azmeh’s home country has undergone years of political strife, violence, and a refugee crisis. Azmeh has looked to his own craft in order to draw attention to these ongoing struggles in the form of a concerto by Syrian composer Kareem Roustom.

On the Moon Landing’s 50th Anniversary, Hear a Song Cycle Inspired by American Women Astronauts

In February, soprano Tamara Wilson joined WFMT to perform a celestial song cycle composed for her by Chicago composer James Kallembach. The works draw from the experience of women astronauts, including Sally Ride, Sunita Williams, and Peggy Whitson. We’re bringing this video back in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Joffrey’s ‘Anna Karenina’ Features Its First-Ever Commissioned Full-Length Orchestral Score. Here’s What It Sounds Like.

“I believe that Karenina is a magical moment of looking at our beautiful art form and taking it a step forward,” says Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet’s artistic director. One of the cornerstones of the production is 35-year-old composer Ilya Demutsky’s brand new, full-length orchestral score, the first such commission in Joffrey’s 62-year history.

Video | Violinist Jennifer Koh on Creating a Diverse, Thriving Future for Classical Music

Violinist Jennifer Koh visited WFMT for a Facebook live broadcast and shared two contrasting works — the “Sarabande” from Bach’s Violin Partita No.2 in D minor and “Kinski Paganini,” by Missy Mazzoli. She also spoke about the importance of ensuring that there is diversity in future generations of classical artists. “One of the things that’s important to me,” Koh shared, “is to bring voice to people who didn’t have that voice before.”